Park Level Mine
Put on your wellies and hard hat and join us for an incredible adventure underground. No visit to Killhope would be complete without taking a guided tour of our Victorian lead mine.
Digging at what is now Park Level Mine first began in 1853, when the WB Lead Company began to dig an ‘adit’ otherwise known as the horse level.
Peter Milburn, Joseph Carrick, Joseph Emerson and Joseph Peart started cutting the tunnel and when you take your underground tour you will be able to see the initials they carved into the stone.
It was slow work, with the first 500 metres taking a year to cut. Very little ore was found in the first four veins. After 21 years a rich ore body was cut which provided work for over 100 miners.
At its peak it was one of the richest lead mines in the whole of Great Britain.
In the largely treeless landscape of the North Pennines the miners did not use wooden supports but dry stone arching to line the tunnel. As you walk through the tunnel the stonework may look recent but, in fact, it is more than 150 years old.
In the wheel chamber, you will see the 5.5 metre underground waterwheel, which was installed to pump water. This wheel is 36 metres up from the lower levels of the mine and can pump 250 litres of water per minute. The waterwheel was used to pump water out of the lower levels so that the miners could continue with their work.
Park Level Mine was reopened to the public in 1996.
Guided tours of the mine take about an hour from kitting up to kitting down. You will be underground for about 45 minutes. Wellies are essential as you will be walking through water but we can lend you some if you have not brought your own*.
* Please note that we have a limited number of standard fitting wellies available on a first come first served basis.